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Laguna Beach City Council to consider a makeover for Pearl Street stairway

Laguna Beach City Council to consider a makeover for Pearl Street stairway
The Laguna Beach City Council will consider leasing eight trolleys to replace city-owned vehicles at Tuesday’s council meeting. (Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

The Laguna Beach City Council will consider a plan Tuesday to restore and reopen the declining Pearl Street Beach stairway.

City staff recommends that council members approve a $1 million construction bid from Wright Construction Engineering Corp. to replace and improve the stairs, landscaping, walkways and amenities. Structural erosion and low sand levels led the city to close the stairway in August.

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The council and Design Review Board conditionally approved the restoration project in 2017. Total project costs — which include management and inspection fees, engineering, surveys and a contingency fund — are expected to reach $1.2 million.

The council is expected to appropriate the current project budget, $760,000, and borrow the remaining $510,000 from the Anita Street Beach Access Improvement fund, which, according to a city staff report, will be restored with next year’s budget.

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Recommendation is to lease new trolleys

In other business, city staff is recommending that the council approve 12-year leases for eight new trolleys that would replace declining city-owned vehicles.

Laguna owns six, 14- to 17-year-old San Francisco Cable Car trolleys beset with structural, roof and body issues, according to a staff report. The city leases two additional trolleys for summer routes.

Staff recommends leasing, rather than purchasing, all eight trolleys in order to free up space at the maintenance yard and store them in a drier environment. Salty sea air has contributed to the current fleet’s deterioration, according to the report.

Creative Bus Sales, a leasing agency, would store and maintain the vehicles in Chino at a cost of $3 million over 12 years. Purchasing and maintaining eight trolleys over 12 years would also amount to $3 million, according to the report.

“Since the purchase price for the trolleys is similar to the lease cost, staff recommends moving forward with the lease option due to storage and maintenance benefits,” says the report.

Arbor Day for a Tree City USA

The council is also expected to proclaim a municipal Arbor Day to coincide with California Arbor Week. A celebration featuring live entertainment and information booths at Main Beach Park would take place from 3 to 5 p.m. March 8.

The proclamation follows the Arbor Day Foundation naming Laguna a first-year Tree City USA Community in 2018.

City staff is requesting replacement of a dying and “very unsightly” New Zealand Christmas tree at Main Beach as part of the celebration.

Sewer main rehabilitation near Village Entrance

Laguna’s director of water quality, David Shissler, is asking the council to approve a $154,833 emergency construction bid to protect the sewer mains near the Village Entrance construction on Laguna Canyon Road.

Existing mains are made with asbestos-cement piping, which the staff report described as brittle and susceptible to damage during the Village Entrance work.

Shissler recommends repairing the mains with cure-in-place piping.

Savings from previous projects would fund the work, according to the report. The city received only one bid, from Sancon Technologies, for the project.

The council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

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